Jon Magnuson

Director of Fungal Biotechnology

Research Focus

Jon Magnuson is a biochemist with more than 30 years of research experience studying enzymes and metabolic pathways in bacteria and fungi. His research on filamentous fungi focuses on the development of integrated bioprocesses for converting renewable biomass to fuels, chemicals and enzymes. This research involves the use of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics for the discovery of genes and other genetic parts and their function that enables synthetic biology approaches to increasing efficient utilization of carbon and nitrogen from biomass for production of small molecules and enzymes.


At JBEI, Dr. Magnuson focuses on development of recombinant fungal protein expression systems to produce lignocellulose deconstruction enzymes, especially lignin degrading enzymes, that are targeted within the Deconstruction Division to facilitate enzyme cocktail optimization for utilization of all of the carbon in lignocellulosic biomass.

  • Perform comparative transcriptomics and proteomics analyses of fungal native strains vs. higher enzyme production strains in order to identify elements involved in efficient production and secretion of enzymes.
  • Develop and refine tools for deleting and inserting genes including inserting multiple copies of a desired gene and stacking of different genetic traits through traditional techniques and the CRISPR/Cas9 system
  • Establish fungal specific integrative bioinformatics and metabolic modeling tools for analysis and interpretation of genome resequencing, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics data to enable predictions of future genetic targets for improving effectiveness of the host fungus
  • Apply all of these tools to our main fungal enzyme and small molecule hosts, Aspergillus niger and Rhodosporidium toruloides, respectively.


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